Melvin Taylor, Brand Marketer
Botham Jean, 26, was murdered in his own apartment by Dallas police officer and neighbor, Amber Guyger, 30. Jean and Guyger both lived in the South Side Flats apartment complex. Jean lived in unit 1478, one floor above Guyger’s unit 1378. Guyger was off-duty at the time of the Sept. 6 shooting. Guyger thought Jean’s apartment was her own. Guyger entered the apartment and saw a large silhouette that she thought was a robber. She fired two shots that both struck Jean, one of which hit him in the chest. Jean died later that day at Baylor University Medical Center. Two weeks later after the shooting, despite an arrest, very few questions have been answered. According to The New York Times, Guyger was charged with manslaughter and released on a $300,000 bond.
For the past six years, police officer related shootings and deaths, specifically those involving African-Americans, have been a hot topic on television and the internet. This topic of discussion started with the Trayvon Martin shooting in 2012, continued with the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014 and the shooting of Philando Castile in 2016. Now in 2018, we are presented with the mysterious death of Jean, a man murdered by a police officer that entered his apartment without warrant.
With many of these police officer related deaths, people will find any reason to defend these police officers’ actions. It will be hard for individuals to defend Guyger’s actions due to Jean’s character. An article by Palm Beach Post said Jean was a 2016 graduate from Harding University in Arkansas where he studied accounting. He was also a worship leader and resident assistant at the college. Jean was involved with a lot of activities on his campus such as the Good News Singers and often led worship for the chapel. After reading such information about Jean, it was difficult for me to believe that he could be involved in any negative activities or did anything that would have led to him being shot.
There are conflicting reports on whether Jean’s door was opened or not. Guyger claims it was “slightly ajar” while lawyers for Jean’s family said the door was closed, according to The New York Times. The lawyers’ information was proven correct when a resident of the South Side Flats apartment complex released a video showing that her door closed automatically and was not left ajar.
Neighbors claimed to have heard banging and shouting before the shooting. There were also complaints of a marijuana smell on the floor that Jean lived on, leading to managers investigating hours before the shooting. Jean’s apartment was searched after the shooting, and marijuana and a marijuana grinder were found inside. Seeing the report about marijuana being found in Jean’s apartment was upsetting, only because it felt like this information was used to justify shooting a man that seemed to have lived a positive life.
Friend of Jean and minister of Singing Hills Church of Christ, Michael Griffin said, “He was a person who would give you the shirt off his back and his sole purpose in life was to make humanity better, just to make you a better person, a better human.”
Other items such as a police equipment and paperwork were discovered in Jean’s apartment. These items obviously did not belong to Jean. Considering that Guyger somehow went to the wrong apartment, I think the two knew each other in some way. With police equipment being in Jean’s apartment, it’s possible he and Guyger were dating and she left some of her things with him. It’s interesting that the marijuana was instantly related to Jean, but the police equipment was not.
For whatever reason, it’s easy for news outlets and law enforcement to report that marijuana was found in Jean’s apartment, slandering his character but keeping Guyger’s character in check. If Jean and Guyger were involved in a relationship, it’s possible that the marijuana belonged to her and the relationship between the two went badly, leading to Guyger murdering Jean. While not likely, why was it not assumed that Jean was training to be a police officer to protect his community? I do not understand why a man is being painted as the “bad guy” in his own murder.
If Jean did smoke marijuana that does not justify his death in any way. I have not seen any reports confirming or denying Jean smoked marijuana and I think that’s the way things should stay, because it’s not important to case at all and should have never been reported on. Why were the police so swift in investigating Jean who is the most innocent in this case?
Guyger entered the wrong apartment and killed a man she thought was a burglar. I want to know what’s in her apartment and her car. I want to know if she was on drugs at the time of the shooting. I want to know if she has a mental illness. I want to know why she killed Botham Jean.